Tuesday, 06 April 2021 14:55

Irish farmers confront similar conundrum

Written by  David Anderson
Currently, the Irish agriculture sector accounts for 34% of that country's total greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, the Irish agriculture sector accounts for 34% of that country's total greenhouse gas emissions.

Irish farmers are facing similar concerns to their NZ counterparts about how they can reduce the agriculture sector's greenhouse gas (GHG) contributions without severely restricting their future production and profitability.

The Irish Farmers Journal reports that "massive cuts" to Ireland's cattle herd are on the cards unless alternatives can be found to agriculture's contribution to that country's GHG emissions. The paper says Ireland's new Climate Bill - published late last month - aims to reduce the country's GHG levels to net zero by 2030.

Ireland's 51% target of reductions in GHGs by 2030, means the country's farming sector is facing significant challenges. Currently, the Irish agriculture sector accounts for 34% of the country's total emissions.

The paper says that unless new technologies are found or emissions calculations introduced, hugely reducing the number of livestock in the country will be the deciding factor in meeting the new targets for the agriculture sector.

Specific GHG reduction targets for each sector of the Irish economy - including agriculture - are expected to be set by the Climate Change advisory Council and Government in the next few months.

The Journal reports that the council had previously suggested that up to 53% of the country's suckler herd - some 536,000 cattle - would have to be culled from the national herd by 2030 to meet the emissions target. However, it also has promoted the idea of more forestry and improved fertiliser use as possible solutions as well.

However, at the moment, the reality for the Irish farm sector is that withouth new technologies the Climate Bill means an end to increasing herd sizes and a big reduction in cattle numbers.

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan highlighted, at the launch of the bill, the importance of biodiversity. He promised farmers they would be "paid properly for looking after nature."

The Irish farm sector says the next decade will be crucial in shaping how future generations will farm in Ireland. It is now waiting on how Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue responds to the targets and what support he will offer farmers to meet them.

More like this

Greening up at Fieldays

In the rural landscapes of New Zealand and Ireland, a shared agricultural heritage thrives, built on a strong mixture of tradition and innovation, with mirror image climates earning both countries global acclaim for their food quality and sustainable agriculture.

Milk processors and emissions

OPINION: Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – especially scope 3 emissions that occur on the farm – has been on the agenda of leading dairy companies for many years.

Irish show how it's done

MPI director general Ray Smith reckons NZ has a lot to learn from the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority – called Teagasc (pronounced ‘Chog us’).

Cull cows

OPINION: In Ireland, climate change is also causing issues for farmers.

Mallard ducks off to Irish junket

Trevor Mallard has had a colourful career. Now he's got his dream job as Ambassador to Ireland - a country which shares much in common with NZ. Before he left for Ireland, Mallard spoke with Peter Burke.

Featured

Red tape 'blocking access to crop production products'

Outgoing chief executive of Horticulture New Zealand, Nadine Tunley has taken a swipe at government agencies for the “costly and lengthy regulatory approval process” to get new crop protection products registered.

Farmers back ACT MP's bill

ACT MP and Northland dairy farmer Mark Cameron is lodging a new member’s bill that would prevent regional and district councils from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

National

Govt unveils climate strategy

The Government has launched its new Climate Strategy, which it says is a comprehensive and ambitious plan to reduce the…

Machinery & Products

More efficient jumbo wagons

In a move that will be welcomed by many, Austrian manufacturer Pottinger appears to be following a trend of bringing…

Fieldays' top young innovator

Growing up on a South Waikato sheep and beef farm, Penny Ranger has firsthand experience on the day-to-day challenges.

Claas completes 500,000th machine

Claas is celebrating half a million combine harvesters built since 1936, marking the occasion by building anniversary machines from the…

Donated tractors welcome news

When Cyclone Gabrielle hit in February 2023, it left an estimated $13.5 billion worth of damage across New Zealand.

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Fieldays focused

OPINION: Your old mate had a wee crack at Fieldays recently for the perception it was more focused on quantity…

'Woke madness'

OPINION: Real estate agent Janet Dickson's court case, following her refusal to complete a compulsory Māori culture course, is being watched…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter